Governor Snyder calls for regulations changes to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

LANSING (WXYZ) - Governor Snyder held a press conference Tuesday morning proposing sweeping changes to how Michigan's largest health insurance provider is regulated.

In a press conference from Lansing Snyder called for Blue Cross Blue Sheild to become a nonprofit mutual insurance company regulated under the Michigan Insurance Code like all other health insurers in the state.

His plan requires BCBS of Michigan to contribute about $1.5 billion over 18 years to a new nonprofit to fund initiatives that foster healthier lifestyles, provide access to health care and improve public health.

"This is an exciting opportunity to improve the health of Michiganders and create a modernized, efficient health care marketplace that spurs innovation and streamlines outdated regulations," Snyder said.

He went on to say, "It's especially important that we have a system that promotes wellness for our children and seniors. This proposal will ensure that quality health care remains affordable and accessible for everyone."

A press release from the governor's office indicated his plan will:

• Create a nonprofit entity to improve the health of all Michigan residents. The nonprofit will be

  run by an independent board of directors. It will be funded with about $1.5 billion in

  contributions from Blue Cross made over the next 18 years.

• Blue Cross will transition to a nonprofit mutual insurance company that will pay an estimated

  $100 million a year in additional tax revenue to the state and local governments.

• Protect senior citizens by freezing "Medigap" coverage rates for four years.

• Streamline the regulatory environment by regulating Blue Cross under the state Insurance

  Code, as is the case with all other health insurance companies.

• Preserve Blue Cross' nonprofit status and mission while maintaining its tremendous

  contribution to Michigan's economy and investments in the state.

• Eliminate the "tax" currently required on Blue Cross' small-business and individual customers

   to subsidize other lines of insurance coverage. That tax costs small businesses and individual

   Blue Cross members more than $200 million a year.

• Ensure that Blue Cross continues as a carrier of last resort until Jan. 1, 2014, at which time new

  federal laws will require all insurers to offer coverage to anyone regardless of health status.

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